Life is a difficult and frigid game that requires all the luck, saavy and gifts you can collect to give yourself any kind of a chance. Defeat is defeat. Success is defeat. Defeat and failure stare at you twenty-four hours a day. Sports is a metaphor for the battle of life. Blah, blah, blah. And that’s why we are so enthralled by it. Like cinema, sports is life with all the boring parts cut out. That’s why it is sickening to me and millions of others when a basketball players misses a free throw. As Offender Justin says, “they’re free!” Because a free throw is not only free, but a gift, an advantage you gain on your opponent as he helplessly watches.
This is extra sickening when we realize that ball players spend the majority of their day practicing, honing their skills until it operates like an old German stop watch, and many have practiced their God given skills since they were little kids (and of course now they get paid millions to do it). Because the free throw — after the extra point in football — must be the easiest point gain in sports. Dirk Nowitzski’s career will forever be tainted because of the missed FT in game 3 of the 2006 Finals. Yes, the missed FT that allowed Dwayne Wade to win game 3 and the next 3 games after that, and thus the championship. Dirk is a career 87% FT shooter and the 13% part showed up at the wrong time. It was free. Right there for the taking. And he couldn’t take it.
Over and over again, we see all-stars missing free throws. Add to that, free throws may be the one thing us mortals think we can do. It just makes you want to throw up every time it happens. And I think I know why. Guys get congratulated when they make one. A fist. A high five. But they get the same treatment WHEN THEY MISS IT. A high five. A fist. Yes — I said it — if you fuck up, you are treated the same way as if you didn’t fuck up???
They have that ridiculous circle under the basket, they eliminate the hand check rule, but they allow guys to congratulate each other if they miss a free throw? Really? They don’t even allow guys to complain about calls anymore. But they allow them to congratulate their teammates if they miss the FT? I don’t know if any other sport has this reward system. In football, the field kicker gets fired the next day (if not gang-raped in the locker room). In soccer, the guy could get killed (and maybe his entire family and his goats). In basketball, you get a high five.
What the hell are we telling our kids? This has to change. Call Fisher. Call Stern. During the next collective bargaining agreement, they have to put it in that instead of getting a high five or a fist, guys should get slapped in the back of the head or a punch to the face. Seriously. You missed that? WHAM. SMACK. Miss the next one, see what happens. I bet you anything he gets the next one.